On the Eve of Publication

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DOI: 10.5040/9781408162262.00000065
Roles: Male (4) , Female (6) , Neutral (0)

On the Eve of Publication is the first part of a trilogy, sometimes called the Kelvin trilogy, with The Cellar and the Almond Tree and Emma’s Time. The play is told through the consciousness of Robert Kelvin, a successful, but ageing socialist writer.

It is an amalgam of a London literary dinner-party and of flashbacks and voice-overs, cutting between past and present. There are fragments from Robert’s memories of his family and former wives, fantasies of imprisonment and interrogation, and fretful conversations with his young mistress Emma. The whole collage of reminiscences and fears about socialism, ageing and instability is a mental letter to Emma, and eventually disappears into an imagined unrealised event, a fascinating and melancholy exploration of adventurous form.

On the Eve of Publication was first broadcast in 1968 by BBC Television.

From Mercer Plays: 1

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Bloomsbury Publishing

David Mercer

ISBN: 9780413634504

Series: Contemporary Dramatists

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